Monday, 13 April 2015

Day 7 - More Grouse!

This morning we were up at 03.30 with as many clothes on as we could. We then drove to an area near Gunnison where we set ourselves up in a trailer with open windows and seats from where we had to wait an hour before first light and our first views of up to 20 Gunnison's Sage Grouse a highly endangered species. We watched through scopes at half a mile distance as males strutted around with their tails fanned out and heads flung back. Although distant it was an amazing experience. By about 07.30 it was all over and the displaying birds had disappeared. As we came out of the trailer desperately trying to warm up, we spotted a Sage Thrasher sat on a bush and a Golden Eagle fly overhead being mobbed by a Swainson's Hawk. Leaving Gunnison we headed off towards Black Canyon. Along the way we spotted some Yellow-bellied Marmots and three more Golden Eagles.
Yellow-bellied Marmot
In Black Canyon we were treated to superb views of several Dusky Grouse including both male and females.
Male Dusky Grouse
Female Dusky Grouse
There were plenty of Spotted Towhee's around, a showy Broad-tailed Hummingbird and finally good views of a Fox Sparrow of the Rocky Mountain race Slate-colored (Passerella iliaca schistacea).
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Slate-colored Fox Sparrow.

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